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A MELKSHAM business owner is celebrating after a successful appearance on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den saw him walk away with a £60,000 investment in his raw dog food company.
Director of Poppy’s Picnic, Dylan Watkins, who lives in Melksham, faced the formidable Dragons alongside his business partner Louise Mackintosh and his faithful four-legged friend, Poppy, the miniature schnauzer – the inspiration behind the brand.
Explaining the benefits of feeding raw food to dogs, the business partners were surprised to receive an offer from one of the Dragons, Tej Lalvani, in the first few minutes of their pitch. Three other Dragons, Deborah Meaden, Jenny Campbell and Touker Suleyman, soon followed and Dylan and Louise faced equal offers on the table of £60,000 for 15% of the business.
“It was a great experience,” said Dylan. “It was good to be in front of five respected business people, two of which, Deborah and Jenny, have a very public interest in dogs.
“There was great relief when Tej made the first offer in the first few minutes – we knew then that things were going the right way. We were blown away to get four offers from the Dragons, we were only hoping for one.
“Even Peter Jones, who did not make an offer, said that he was very impressed by the brand, which was a huge compliment for me coming from a brand background.
“We were in the ‘den’ for over two and a half hours, a lot longer than what you see on TV. There were so many questions to answer, it was very full-on.
“It was an honour to share the message on Dragons’ Den about the value of feeding raw food to dogs. Feeding dogs a diet of dry food would be like humans living on a diet of cereal. Eating cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s just something that we wouldn’t dream of doing!”
After some consideration, the pet food pair accepted a deal from Deborah Meaden, whose dog-loving credentials and clear enthusiasm for their brand shone through. “It was really good feeling to have a seasoned Dragon believe in us. The show was filmed in May last year and since then, there has been so much growth within the company.
“The Monday after the show was aired was 20 times busier than a normal Monday, our phones would not stop ringing, there was a real buzz in the air.”